It depends on the situation. You can put the concern in writing and provide a letter or email to the other side. The other person may not have been aware of the law.
If there has been a breach, you can make an application through the Provincial Court Civil or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service. If a landlord or tenant commits an offense under the Residential Tenancies Act, you can make a complaint through Service Alberta.
There may also be other options depending on the situation. If there are repair or maintenance problems, you can contact Environmental Public Health for more information (or call Health Link at 811). A health inspector can conduct an inspection and issue different orders. For example, an order might say that the landlord must complete repairs within a set period of time.
The Residential Tenancies Act does not prohibit landlords from charging application fees. If there is an application form, the tenant should review it carefully before signing it and handing over any money. If the application form says that the application fee is non-refundable, then the money will not be paid back. This is the case even if the tenant decides not to move in or if the landlord does not accept the tenant’s application.
The Residential Tenancies Act always takes priority over a lease. This means a lease cannot take away any of a tenant’s rights under the law. For example, a lease says that the landlord only has to give two tenancy months’ notice to end a month-to-month periodic tenancy. This term in the lease is unenforceable because the Residential Tenancies Act says that landlords must give at least three months’ notice.
In Alberta, you do not need a written lease. However, a written lease is a good idea because then both the landlord and the tenant are clear on their responsibilities. If there is a dispute later, having a written lease can help clarify what was agreed to by both sides. A written lease is also important if the landlord chooses to sell the property. The new landlord will have to follow any written agreement that was already in place.
Also, if the lease is in writing and the tenant has signed it and given it back to the landlord, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the lease with the landlord’s signature within 21 days. If the landlord does not do this, the tenant can withhold rent until a signed copy is received. This is the only time that the Residential Tenancies Act allows a tenant to withhold the rent.
There are certain situations where a landlord or tenant may be able to “break the lease” or end the lease early. If the tenant or landlord has committed a substantial breach of the residential tenancy agreement, a 14-day notice can be served to end the tenancy or an application can be made through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or Provincial Court Civil to end the tenancy. See our pages on Eviction Notices and Tenant’s 14 Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy for more information.
If a tenant wants to break the lease early because of personal circumstances like a lost job, or relocating for work, the tenant should talk to the landlord and see if the landlord will consent to end the lease early. The landlord is under no obligation to consent to break the lease but might be willing if the tenant agrees to help with advertising and making sure the suite can get rented. If the landlord agrees to break the lease early, the tenant should make sure this agreement is in writing and signed by the landlord to prevent any problems in the future.
A landlord cannot break a tenant’s lease and make a tenant leave the property before the end of the lease. A landlord can ask the tenant to consent to end the lease early, but the tenant is not obligated to do so.
Yes, a landlord can require a tenant to have insurance as a term of the lease. It is up to the tenant to agree to that term. Tenants can try to negotiate this term with the landlord. A basic tenant insurance policy will include liability coverage. This helps tenants with situations where they may be at fault for damage to a third party, another suite, or the building. For example, if a fire starts in the tenant’s apartment and it damages another suite, liability insurance will help cover the costs of the damage to the tenant’s unit and the other suite.
Tenant insurance can also include contents insurance. This helps cover the replacement cost of the tenant’s goods and personal items destroyed by fire or water damage. The landlord’s insurance does not cover a tenant’s items
A landlord usually requires that everyone who is living in a rental unit be named on the lease. Landlords have the right to know how many people are living in the rental unit and who is living in it. This information is important to ensuring the Minimum Housing and Health Standards are met.
If a person is named as a tenant on the lease, that person is subject to all of the rights and obligations of a tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act. For example, if Joe and Beth are both named as tenants on the lease and they do not pay their rent, the landlord can choose to collect the rent from Joe alone, Beth alone, or from Joe and Beth.
Where someone is named as a tenant on the lease but has not signed it, they still have rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act. If the lease includes rights and obligations outside of the Act, the tenant who has not signed the lease may not be subject those provisions. For example, if a lease gives a tenant the ability to end a periodic tenancy with a shorter notice period, a tenant who has not signed the agreement may not get the benefit of the shorter notice period.
Yes. In Alberta, landlords can decide whether to allow pets in their rental properties. If a landlord does not allow pets or the building has a no pets policy, then pets are not allowed in the property.
If pets are allowed in the rental property, the landlord may charge a pet fee. The fee must be reasonable, and the landlord should be able to provide the tenant with the reasons why the fee is being collected. For example, if the pet will be walking through the common areas, there may be additional carpet cleaning required.
The Residential Tenancies Act assumes a tenant will move out at the end of the lease. The landlord is not required to provide the tenant with any kind of written termination notice. Tenants should check their lease as some fixed-term lease agreements require tenants to provide notice if they plan to move out.
At least one month before the lease end date, the tenant and landlord should discuss whether the tenant wants to stay. If the tenant wants to stay, a new lease needs to be signed between the landlord and tenant. However, the landlord does not have to agree to a new lease. The tenant must move out by the lease end date if the landlord does not agree to sign a new lease.
However, there are two situations where a tenant can continue to stay in the rental unit without signing a new lease. The first is where the original lease includes a provision that allows the tenancy to be renewed without notice after the lease ends. If the tenant chooses to stay, the tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy. The second situation is where a tenant continues to live in the rental property after the lease ends and the landlord continues to accept rent from the tenant. The fixed term lease becomes a periodic tenancy in this situation.
A security deposit cannot be more than one-month rent. The amount is based on the rent charged at the start of tenancy. If the landlord increases rent, they cannot increase the deposit amount.
A security deposit plus any refundable fees (e.g., a refundable key fee), must total one months rent or less. Non-refundable, one-time fees do not form part of the security deposit. The security deposit plus any non-refundable fee can be more than one month’s rent. It is important to read the lease carefully or understand any oral agreement you have. That way, you can determine what forms part of the security deposit and what does not.
Yes, the landlord can charge a non-refundable pet fee and the security deposit. The non-refundable fee does not form part of the security deposit. The landlord can only charge a fee that is reasonable, This means that the landlord should have a reason behind charging the amount that they are, For example, if the landlord allows dogs, then the carpets in common areas will have to be cleaned more often. The non-refundable pet fee may go towards that expense.
Tenants can try to negotiate with the landlord if they do not want to pay the fee, or want to pay a lower amount.
The landlord has 10 days to deliver a statement of account with a cheque for the security deposit to the tenant. “Deliver” means the landlord must put the statement in the mail within 10 days of the tenant moving out. It does not mean the tenant has to receive it within 10 days.
If a tenant does not receive the statement of account and security deposit from their landlord within a reasonable period after the 10-day deadline, he or she should write to the landlord requesting the return of the security deposit.
If the tenant and landlord cannot reach an agreement, the tenant can make an application in Provincial Court Civil or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service for the return of the deposit. Tenants may also consider filing a complaint with Service Alberta.
No. If tenants are sharing a rental property and each paid part of the security deposit, the landlord is under no obligation to return part of the security deposit if one tenant moves out early. The security deposit is usually only returned when the tenancy ends. When the security deposit is returned at the end of the tenancy, the landlord must make the cheque out to all of original tenants named on the lease, even if one of the tenants already left the premises.
Yes. A landlord can ask for extra money to cover the cost of damages greater than the security deposit. Landlords may need to take legal action to recover extra money. In court, they will have to prove:
Landlords can only keep money from the security deposit for damages that are beyond normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear mean the declining condition of the rental property that occurs over time, even though the tenant has been regularly cleaning and maintaining the property.
For example, if a tenant left the carpet stained, dirty, and/or ripped, then the carpet would be damaged beyond normal wear and tear and the landlord could deduct carpet cleaning costs from the security deposit.
A tenant may not agree with the reason for the deduction or may disagree with the amount that is being deducted. If the landlord and tenant cannot come to an agreement on their own, the tenant can make an application in Provincial Court Civil or with Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service for return of the security deposit.
No. If a landlord did not complete inspection reports, they cannot keep any of the security deposit to cover damage to the unit. However, a landlord could keep the security deposit to cover other things, such as unpaid rent.
The landlord must complete a move-in inspection one week before or after the tenant moves in. The landlord must also complete a move-out inspection one week before or after the tenant moves out. Further, the landlord must give tenants a copy of reports from both inspections. The landlord can complete the inspection without the tenant if a tenant refuses to take part in either inspection.
Tenants are not required to attend the inspection. But it is a good idea for them to be there and take part.
The landlord must suggest two appointment times for the inspection. The landlord must complete the inspection one week before/after the tenant moves in and moves out. The landlord’s two suggested inspection times must be on separate days, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The inspection cannot be on a holiday. If the tenant cannot attend either suggested times, they can try to negotiate a new time with the landlord. But the landlord does not have to agree to a new date or time. If the tenant cannot attend the appointment times offered, the landlord can complete the inspection report without the tenant.
The move-in inspection gives the tenant the chance to point out any damage to the property. tenant should also take photos to avoid any damage get missed.
If the tenant is present for the move-out inspection, he or she can remind the landlord about the damage that was present at move-in and ensure no unnecessary deductions are taken. Having the tenant present for both inspections is a proactive way of avoiding any conflicts over the condition of the property.
If a tenant doesn’t go to the inspection appointment, the landlord can carry out the inspection alone. The landlord will complete the inspection report and indicate that the tenant was not present. The landlord must give the tenant a copy of the report. In the case of a move-in report, it could be left under the tenant’s door. In the case of a move-out report, it should be mailed to the tenant’s new address.
If the tenant does not agree with anything in either of the reports, they should mark this clearly on the report and give a copy to back to the landlord. If the tenant disagrees with the condition as reflected in the report, then it is a good idea for the tenant to take date-stamped pictures of the property.
The inspection report should reflect the condition of the property on move-in and move-out. During the move-in inspection, it is important to take note of anything that is damaged or missing from the property. The tenant or landlord should take pictures of each room in the property during the inspection.
Tenants should look for the following items during a move-in inspection:
Tenants should check that all appliances are in good working order and turn them on to ensure that they are working property. Tenants should also check the plumbing, heating, and electrical fixtures.
Once the tenant signs off on an inspection report, it is a final document and usually not changed. If the tenant notices damage in the property after moving in, they should inform the landlord in writing. The tenant should alert the landlord as soon as possible of the damage. By putting the problem down in writing, the tenant will have proof that they alerted the landlord of the problem. This way, it may help protect the tenant’s security deposit later.
There is no standard form inspection report in Alberta.
The wording that must be in the inspection report depends on the circumstances. All inspection reports must contain the following statement: “Inspections should be conducted when the premises are vacant unless the landlord and tenant or their agents otherwise agree.
If the landlord and the tenant conduct the inspection together, then:
If the landlord conducts the inspection alone without the tenant, then:
After each inspection (move in inspection and move out inspection), the landlord must immediately give the tenant a written copy of the inspection report.
The tenant should keep a copy of the inspection report in their records. Landlords must keep inspection reports for three years after the tenant moves out. Keeping good records protects both the landlord and tenant.
If the landlord does not complete the move in or move out inspection reports, they cannot keep the security deposit. But the landlord can keep the security deposit to cover other things, like unpaid rent.
If the landlord keeps the security deposit for physical damage to the property and has not completed either of the inspection reports, then the landlord has committed an offence. The tenant can contact Service Alberta for more information about making a consumer complaint. The tenant could also make an application in Provincial Court Civil or through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service for return of the security deposit.
If there is damage beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord could make an application to cover the damage. They can do so through Provincial Court or through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service.
There is only one situation where a tenant can refuse to pay rent. When a landlord and tenant have a written lease, the landlord must give the tenant with a signed copy of lease within 21 days of the tenant signing the lease and returning it to the landlord. If the landlord does not provide a signed copy of the lease within 21 days, the tenant can refuse to pay rent. But as soon as the landlord provides a signed copy, the tenant must pay the landlord the withheld rent.
If a tenant does not pay rent for any other reason, the landlord can take steps to end the tenancy.
If a tenant substantially breaches the residential tenancy agreement, the landlord may be able to end the tenancy by applying for a court order or providing the tenant with a 24 hour or 14 day eviction notice.
A tenant can be evicted for the following reasons:
If a tenant commits a “substantial breach” of the residential tenancy agreement, the landlord can serve a 24 hour or 14 day eviction notice (depending on the type of breach). A substantial breach is when the tenant breaks one of the rules under the Residential Tenancies Act.
A landlord can evict a tenant for the following reasons:
Usually, a tenant can have guests visit the property. But if the guest is staying at the property, the tenant should get the landlord’s permission. Also, the lease may have terms that limit if and how long guests can stay at the property. If the landlord thinks that someone has moved in with the tenant, the landlord could take steps to force the guest to leave the property
Yes. The landlord must provide tenants with their contact information such as a mailing address and physical location. That way, tenants can contact the landlord to pay rent or if they have problems with their rental unit. The landlord can provide this information in a Notice of Landlord. The landlord must give the notice to the tenant within 7 days of the tenant moving into the rental property. The landlord can also provide this information in the lease. Otherwise, they can post it in a common area of the rental building such as the lobby or mail room.
The Residential Tenancies Act allows the landlord to increase the rent once a year. For monthly periodic tenancies, landlords are required to provide three tenancy months written notice of the increase in rent. This means that if the landlord wanted the rent increase to start on January 1, the landlord would have to serve the rent increase notice before October 1. For weekly tenancies, landlords must provide 12 weeks notice and for any other periodic tenancies, landlords must provide 90 days notice
For fixed term tenancies, the landlord can only increase the rent once per year and can only increase once the term is over. For example, if there was a one-year fixed term tenancy, the landlord could increase the rent at the end of the fixed term, to be effective for the next fixed term tenancy.
A landlord can only enter a tenant’s unit for specific reasons, unless:
The Residential Tenancies Act gives five reasons a landlord can enter a tenant’s property:
If a landlord wants to enter the tenant’s rental property for any of these reasons, the landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours written notice before entering. The written notice must be signed by the landlord, state the reason for entry, and give a date and time for the entry. The landlord can only enter between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The landlord cannot enter on a holiday or on the tenant’s day of religious worship (presumed to be Sunday unless the tenant has informed the landlord, in writing, of a different day). As long as the landlord follows these rules, the tenant’s consent is not needed.
If there is an emergency, or the tenant has abandoned the property, or the tenants consents to landlord/s entry. No need for 24-hour notice
A landlord does not have to inform tenants if the property is sold.
If the new owner wants to keep the tenants, then the new owner will become the tenants’ new landlord. The new landlord becomes responsible for:
In addition, the new landlord cannot increase the security deposit and can only increase rent
Public health housing regulations require landlords to ensure there is adequate sleeping space for all occupants of a unit. If there is not enough space, the property could be overcrowded. Local municipal bylaws can also impact the number of people that can live in a rental property.
No, but a landlord usually requires that everyone who is living in a rental unit be named on the lease agreement – either as a tenant or occupant. Landlords have the right to know how many people are living in the rental unit and who is living in it. This information is important to ensuring the Minimum Housing and Health Standards are met, and that both landlords and tenants can fully exercise their rights if breaches their legal obligations.
If a person is named as a tenant on the lease agreement, that person is subject to all of the rights and obligations of a tenant as outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act
Where someone is named as a tenant on the lease agreement but has not signed the agreement, he or she still has the rights and obligations listed in the Residential Tenancies Act. However, if the lease agreement includes rights and obligations outside of the Act, the tenant who has not signed the agreement may not be subject those provisions. For example, if a lease agreement gives a tenant the ability to end a periodic tenancy with a shorter notice period or requires a tenant to shovel the sidewalks, a tenant who has not signed the agreement may not get the benefit of the shorter notice period but also may not be held responsible for failing to shovel.
Yes, your roommate is still responsible to pay his share of the rent. You and your roommates are all bound jointly to pay the rent to your landlord. If a roommate leaves, the rent must still be paid in full. The landlord can evict you if the rent is not paid in full, regardless of your roommate moving out.
Your roommate may the landlord to remove him from the lease. If you and your landlord agree to this change, then the roommate will no longer be responsible for any of the rent. This new agreement should be in writing and everyone should sign it to avoid later difficulties.
As a tip for next time, it is often a good idea to have a roommate agreement in place with all the people you are living with. The agreement should specify:
If you share living space with your landlord, then the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply. For example, the RTA does not apply when you rent a room in the landlord’s home. Likewise, it does not apply if you share a kitchen and/or living room with your landlord.
If you and your landlord have a problem, the first step is for you to communicate about the situation and try to work out a solution. If you reach an agreement, make sure it is in writing. It is important to document problems and their solutions in case you need to take further action.
The tenant should let the landlord know about the problem in writing. The letter or email will provide proof that the tenant requested the repairs if there is a dispute later on.
If the landlord does not complete the repairs, the tenant has a few options:
No. Even if repairs are not complete, a tenant must continue to pay all the rent on time and in full. If a tenant stops paying rent, they can be evicted.
It depends on the circumstances of the situation.
It is more likely a tenant will be reimbursed if the repairs were clearly the landlord’s responsibility and the tenant can show the landlord was informed of the need for repairs, but the request was ignored.
If the landlord refuses to pay the tenant for the cost of the repairs, the tenant could make an application to get the money back in Provincial Court Civil or through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service. The judge or tenancy dispute officer who hears the matter will decide if the tenant should be reimbursed based on all of the evidence brought before them.
Tenants have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their property. Landlords have an obligation to ensure tenants receive that right, along with the obligation to provide a property that is safe and habitable. With repairs, the rights of both the landlord and tenant have to be balanced against one another. It is possible that by continually arriving to carry out repairs, the landlord is breaking their obligation to allow the tenant to live in peaceful enjoyment. On the other hand, if the repairs do not get completed, the landlord may be breaching their other obligation to provide a safe, habitable rental property.
If the tenant thinks the landlord is being unreasonable, the tenant should talk to the landlord about the situation. If an agreement cannot be reached with the landlord, the tenant may want to consider applying for a rent abatement or to end the tenancy on the basis that the landlord is not allowing for peaceful enjoyment of the property. These applications can be made in Provincial Court Civil or through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service.
If the property is not safe to live in because of the repairs being made, the tenant could contact Alberta Health Services, Environmental Public Health or Health Link at 811 for more information on property inspections.
The landlord has an obligation to make sure the premises always comply with public health requirements. Under the Minimum Housing and Health Standards, the landlord must ensure the rental property is free of insect and rodent infestations. The tenant is required to keep the property reasonably clean, to allow entry for any pest control treatment, and to follow the instructions of the exterminator.
If a tenant thinks they are having pest issues, the tenant should notify the landlord about the problem in writing. If the landlord ignores the problem, the tenant can contact Alberta Health Services, Environmental Public Health or call Health Link at 811 to speak with a health inspector.
If a health inspector investigates and finds there is an insect or rodent infestation, the inspector can order the landlord to fix the problem. If the landlord ignores the order, the tenant can either apply to Provincial Court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service to end the tenancy, or serve the landlord with a 14-day notice that he or she is going to end the tenancy.
If the landlord believes the tenant should pay for the treatment, then the landlord may issue a bill to the tenant, or may deduct the cost of the treatment from the security deposit. If the tenant refuses to pay or applies for return of the security deposit, then the landlord will have to bring evidence to show that the tenant did not follow the exterminator’s instructions. The judge or tenancy dispute officer will decide who should have to pay based on the evidence that is before them.
No. A landlord is not obligated to paint between tenants.
The landlord is obligated, under the Minimum Housing and Health Standards, to ensure that walls and ceilings are in good repair, with no cracks or holes and that they are easy to clean. In the bathroom, the walls must be smooth and non-absorbent. In the kitchen, the walls must be in good condition to ensure that bacteria and pests do not become a problem. These requirements mean that while a landlord does not have to paint between every tenant, the landlord does have to ensure that painting is done on a regular basis to meet health standards.
No, the landlord cannot change the locks without providing the tenant with a key immediately. If the landlord locks the tenant out, the landlord has committed an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act and could face a fine of up to $5,000. Tenants can file a complaint with Service Alberta if this happens to them.
The landlord can apply for an order to terminate the tenancy and get back possession of the property. They can do this through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or Civil. When the landlord applies for this order, the tenant will be served with new documents from the landlord.
If the tenant does not move after being served the order, the landlord may hire a civil enforcement agency to evict the tenant. A civil enforcement agency bailiff can then come to the property, remove the tenant and any of the tenant’s belongings. Only the bailiff has the power to physically remove the tenant and the tenant’s belongings. The landlord cannot remove the tenant themselves.